Gardens: Strip Teasel; GARDENING the Bare Seed Heads of Plants like Poppies & Teasels Make a Glorious Autumn Display

Sunday Mirror (London, England), October 5, 2008 | Go to article overview

Gardens: Strip Teasel; GARDENING the Bare Seed Heads of Plants like Poppies & Teasels Make a Glorious Autumn Display


Byline: ADRIENNE WILD

IF YOU pick plants that are known for having super seed heads they will look really dramatic against a backdrop of fading flowers at this time of year... and may well linger all through the winter.

JERUSALEM SAGE

PHLOMIS, or Jerusalem sage, has wrinkly, felted green leaves - and produces 2ft stalks with whorls of buttery yellow flowers on top. These last for weeks before being followed by the seed heads - which are perfect for leaving through the winter.

EXPERT TIP: Sandwich phlomis between plants such as the stag's horn sumach Lacinita, which has leaves that turn red and orange as the temperatures drop.

HOW MUCH? Around pounds 6.99 at garden centres.

TEASEL

WHILE its flowers are popular with bees, teasel is more familiar to us as it begins to die back to leave its beautiful, hard russet skeletons. These can be spectacular when covered in strings of water beads or a rind of frost. And when the light shines through the "hedgehog" seed heads they glow like little torches.

EXPERT TIP: Goldfinches love feeding on teasel seeds, so sprinkle a few in your wild borders to encourage these lovely birds.

HOW MUCH? Seed pounds 1.40 (www.nickysnursery.co.uk, 01843 600972).

CLEMATIS

IN summer, after the first crop of flowers, silky seed heads start to form beside newly-opened blossoms on Clematis Bill Mackenzie and gleam in the sun to give the plant a fluffy appearance. During the winter, the withered leaves and seed heads create a spectacular display, especially when covered with hoar frost or snow.

EXPERT TIP: Clematis Bill Mackenzie will wrap around supports and quickly cover tall fences, pergolas or unsightly buildings. No special pruning is needed, but you can cut it back hard if you need to keep it in bounds.

HOW MUCH? pounds 8.49 each (www.crocus.co.uk, 0844 557 2233).

ALLIUM

THE flower heads of the ornamental onion, allium christophii, are formed from almost 100 metalliccoloured "stars" arranged in a sphere. These are followed by long-lasting seed heads, which look like exploding sparklers. …

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